Right now I’m in Bali again, and last night decided just to sleep at the Ngurah Rai Airport International Departures area. It’s a little loud (the tanoy announcements are disjointed bits of separately recorded phrases and some are yelled out), but the hassle of getting into Kuta and finding somewhere only to get a few hours’ sleep, turn round and come back just didn’t seem worth it.
KL was the usual – too many McDonald’s and cheap accommodation. I saw State of Play (decent adaptation of the BBC series) and Ice Age 3 (far better than the second one) at the cinema (not in 3D regrettably as the times of the performances didn’t suit), and sorted out my US currency for East Timor.
This wasn’t as easy as it sounds as the ATMs in the city decided to refuse to serve me at the time I was planning on withdrawing the cash. Checking my balance was fine, but forget getting money out. No idea why it happened, but I was able to “buy” the cash at the bank using my debit card so it worked out OK.
Leah turned up safe, sound and teary-eyed on the night of the 7th without any luggage. Due to a security scare at Edinburgh, she was delayed four hours and missed her long-haul from Heathrow. She was shoehorned onto a QANTAS replacement (and upgraded) but her bags didn’t make it.
Fortunately, they were at the airport when she went back on the 8th for her flight to Perth. Let’s just hope they make it to Oz on the same plane as her.
Immigration in Bali was a slow, painful nightmare. The one good thing was a complete lack of interrogation over my choice of 7-day visa. It’s $10 rather than $25 which suits me as I’ll be in Indonesia for at most three nights. I was expecting to have to show travel plans and tickets and stuff, but no need. The queues, however, were abysmally slow. From touchdown to reaching the luggage carousel was about an hour.
I dodged the taxi drivers and the “cheap hotel” merchants (the cheapest on offer was 120,000 Rupiah when I was paying less than half that last year) and found myself a nice bench. For a brief period I had free wifi on my mobile, but not the laptop. Hopefully some of you will have caught the Twitter posts. I have since discovered (and am using) a wifi simply labelled “3com” over near the domestic departures. There’s also a lounge nearby (Indosat) which is offering free wifi.
Of note is that the ATM to the right of the exit (as you walk out) from International Arrivals charges for both balance checks and withdrawals (2000 and 3900 Rupiah respectively). Not a lot compared to the extortionate new Thai fees, but you can dodge it by using another machine. The one just outside International Departures charges no fee.
I’m not as tired as I expected though how people sleep on hard wooden surfaces all the time is beyond me. My check-in is in around 90 minutes, and battery on my netbook down to 2 hours. Time to grab some breakfast I think. With luck I should be at my guesthouse in Kupang by 5pm.